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Politics


A chat with Arlington County Board candidate Erik Gutshall

Arlington businessman Erik Gutshall has thrown his hat in the ring for the county board democratic primary, challenging incumbent Board member Libby Garvey.


Erik Gutshall. Image from his campaign.

A resident and former civic association president of Lyon Park, it would be easy for Gutshall to sit back and hope that the democratic electorate punishes Garvey for endorsing independent John Vihstadt in his successful 2014 election to the county board. The result there was the death of the Columbia Pike streetcar along with Board members Walter Tejada and Mary Hynes deciding not seek re-election.

Gutshall, however, views his race as more a referendum on the future of Arlington than one on Garvey's actions in office.

"Are we going to stay true to progressive values or turn inward and insular? Does Arlington want to be push bold ideas, or be stagnant?," he said in an interview with Greater Greater Washington. According to Gutshall, Garvey told the Arlington Chamber of Commerce that her initiative was "no initiative."

Gutshall has Planning Commission roots

Gutshall is a proponent of smart growth. He has worked on the Arlington County Planning Commission for almost three years and understands how important it is to develop urban, mixed-use districts, like the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor that is known nationally as a prime example of transit oriented development.

He has also been a member of a number of local committees, ranging from the Western Rosslyn Area Planning Study Task Force to the Site Plan Review Committee involved with Clarendon area projects.

Gutshall says that his background provides him with a solid understanding of how to balance urban planning with economic development, noting that the latter drives the ability to effectively accomplish the former. Without urban planning, he says, Arlington could end up a developer-driven, auto-oriented suburb like Tysons Corner.

He also believes smart growth is connected to all of the other issues that affect Arlington. For example, on the issue of Arlington county schools, Gutshall says "it is important to incorporate school development into long-range land use and transportation planning."

"We have to look at how many students a density plan will result in and how transportation systems would address this," he says. "We have to be forward thinking, rather than just coming up with short-term solutions."

When it comes to housing costs, Gutshall points out that Arlington has done a great job keeping single-family homes while encouraging high-rise development. However, it has not accomplished its goal of building intermediate housing—something he calls the "missing middle"—for those who earn between 80% and 120% of area median income (AMI), he says.

In order to attract the best employees for the new Arlington business climate, Gutshall advocates for market rate housing alongside housing affordability. Although Arlington has seen a decline in commercial high-rise occupancy, it continues to push forward in becoming a hub for technology and health-oriented small- and medium-size businesses even as it faces stiff competition from other developing communities, such as Tyson's Corner.

He's also a local business owner

Gutshall brings a unique background of both business—he owns the home improvement contractor business Clarendon Home Servicesand civic engagement to the county board race. He hopes this background will help address some of the major issues that resulted in former county board member Alan Howze's loss to Vihstadt in 2014.

The Arlington County Board frequently gets criticism that it ignored the concerns of residents, and Gutshall points to his successful business as reason to believe he would help reverse that course—losing the trust of customers, the thinking goes, is a costly endeavor.

Transportation is on Gutshall's radar

Gutshall says widening I-66 is not consistent with smart growth. He says the original compromise, which would have delayed widening 66 for at least five years until multi-modal improvements have a chance to reduce congestion, was a good deal. He doesn't think so about the more recent regional compromise announced in February, in which the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will build a third lane in each direction on the interstate to Fairfax Drive inside the Beltway. In exchange, outer-suburb legislators will support the governor's plan to convert the current peak-direction HOV-2 operation to HOT-2 lanes.

Gutshall notes that Arlington will have a seat at the table and be able to use toll revenue to develop other modes of transportation, like bike trails, bus service, and Metro.

Arlington has long opposed widening I-66 inside the beltway, favoring instead more of the alternative transportation options Gutshall mentions.

One thing Gutshall says he would do if elected to the council is push for Arlington to have an advanced transportation system, though he's not firm on exactly what that system would look like. This would undoubtedly include some form of improvements along the Columbia Pike corridor, though he agrees that the streetcar there is dead.

Correction: The original version of this post said that Gutshall supported the most recent I-66 widening deal. He emailed us to clarify that he supported a previous agreement, but that he sees the recent regional compromise as "short-sighted and disappointing."

Bicycling


A short new trail connection will go a long way in Arlington

After years of delay, a trail connection between Columbia Pike and the Arlington Boulevard Trail is close to becoming a reality. The wait was frustrating, but the new trail will do less environmental damage and be more pleasant to ride.


Image by the author.

Built in 2009, Phase I of the Washington Boulevard Trail begins where the Arlington Boulevard Trail crosses Washington Boulevard. It continues along Washington Boulevard until crossing over the South Courthouse Road exit, where it ends abruptly.

Last week, the Penrose Neighborhood Association unanimously endorsed a new trail design for Phase II, which which will pick up where Phase I ends and continue along the west side of Washington Boulevard and up into Towers Park, ultimately connecting to Columbia Pike via South Rolfe Street.

The trail is an important connection in Arlington's bike network, extending the reach of the Arlington Boulevard Trail and providing a low-stress alternative to portions of Columbia Pike and South Courthouse Road. Combined with a planned Army Navy Country Club connector, the Washington Blvd Trail & Arlington Blvd Trail would provide a much-needed North-South bicycle connection in the eastern portion of Arlington. It will especially aid those who live in Aurora Highlands and would like to bike to areas to the north and west, like the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor.


Base map by Google, Modifications by the Author

Environmental concerns led to delays

90% of Phase II's design was ready in the spring of 2012, but then it ran into significant opposition. Both the Penrose Neighborhood Association and Arlington's Urban Forestry Commission opposed the design due to its significant tree impact, as the original design was expected to require the removal of 186 trees (though six were already dead and some were invasive species).

As a result of that opposition, Arlington County staff went to the Naval Research Facility for an easement that would allow the trail to preserve more trees.

At the same time, local activists and State Delegate Alfonso Lopez lobbied VDOT for a design exception that would allow a portion of the trail to go closer to Washington Boulevard.

The trail is ready to go now

Both the easement and the design exception recently came through, so much of the trail will go in on what is currently Washington Boulevard's shoulder, protected by a curb and five feet of landscaped buffer. Environmentally, that means losing fewer trees, and there will be much less of an increase in impermeable surface.


The new design. Plans by Arlington County, with labels and simplification by the author.

This version of the trail will also be better to ride on. Prior designs put the trail farther from traffic, but they also made it feel as though you were walking or riding in a ditch. That's because without a design exception, VDOT required a median barrier between the trail and Washington Boulevard's shoulder. Putting the trail next to the shoulder rather than on the shoulder itself would have required cutting into the hillside, which would have placed retaining walls on the far side of the trail as well.


The old design. Image from Arlington County.

The project will follow the County's tree-replacement formula, meaning about three new trees will be planted for every two that come out. County staff have said that all of the trees will be placed along the trail, including some along Phase 1.

The bidding process for building the trail should start this summer, and for construction to start in the fall. Hopefully it's wrap up in late spring or early summer of 2017.

Despite trails being Arlington's most-used recreational asset, the Washington Boulevard Trail is one of the only new trails planned in Arlington. Should Arlington build more? If so, where do you think they should go?

Politics


Arlington's naysayer-in-chief is now its chair. Will she move the county forward?

Two years ago, Libby Garvey was the lone voice on the Arlington County Board opposing most of the county's major capital projects. On January 1, she was elected the board's chair.


Garvey. Image from Arlington County.

Garvey has spent most of the last two years being most vocal about what she was against. We're familiar with her opposition to the controversial Columbia Pike and Crystal City streetcar, but that was only the most visible such campaign.

The streetcar represented a compromise among unattainable ideals. Metro is too expensive to build under Columbia Pike, and a dedicated bus or rail lane is not physically possible. Yet the street is reaching the limit of what more and larger buses could achieve, making some higher-capacity transit solution necessary.

Not being able to offer high speeds, however, made the project's costs look less worthwhile, and Garvey led the fight against the project, even going to Richmond to try to talk Virginia officials out of sending state money to Arlington County.

This was always about much more than the streetcar

Garvey's opposition fit into a broader backlash against the Democratic Party establishment in Arlington. A disaffected group including Peter Rousselot, a former county party chairman who formed the anti-streetcar group, Garvey, and John Vihstadt attacked the county board's actions and spending, sometimes fairly, sometimes deceptively.

Some residents were frustrated with ways the county government had been unresponsive and non-transparent. Others wanted to see a more conservative shift amid a period of economic difficulty, where sequestration and BRAC cut incomes and removed federal jobs.

Rousselot, later joined by Garvey, waged a campaign against county spending with high-profile projects like the Artisphere in Rosslyn or an aquatic center in Long Bridge Park. The streetcar was the biggest fight, and Rousselot's group won over some voters who genuinely didn't support it after weighing the pros and cons, but also fooled many others with impractical comparisons to imaginary, unrealistic "alternatives."

What's next, for Garvey and for Arlington?

A year after the county board suddenly reversed course and canceled the streetcar, the county's current vision is drastically less ambitious than it was five or ten years ago. The only ideas for transportation in Garvey's public statements thus far are small-scale bus improvements like letting people pay the fare before boarding and having signals give them more green time—potentially valuable, certainly, but ultimately likely to have minor impact at best on Columbia Pike's and Crystal City's transit capacity needs.

Garvey has also started criticizing county officials for not moving faster to implement these, even though it was clear when the streetcar was canceled that it would take time to replace a transportation project decades in the making.

A big part of the reason for choosing rail, with its concomitant costs, was to drive significant new development to Columbia Pike, to make it the next booming corridor like (though somewhat more modest than) Rosslyn-Ballston. The plan also used the revenue from this development to pay for large quantities of new and preserved affordable housing.

People can debate whether the streetcar would have done this, or that the reason it's not happening now isn't because of the economy instead, but right now the idea that Columbia Pike will ignite into the county's next big growth area (while protecting lower-income residents) seems distant.

The rhetoric from Arlington used to be one of great vision—that Arlington could grow substantially without adding traffic, could use transit to enormously improve people's mobility and reduce car dependence, and could provide first-class public services to make the county a top place to live. Now the talk at the county board is mostly about customer service, civic participation, and sign regulations—again, all valuable, to be sure, but without big ideas.

It's not just Arlington. There has been a similar trend in many jurisdictions around the region to shrink our ambition and work on little things. But this isn't the kind of thinking that propelled Arlington to transform itself when Metro arrived.

Garvey gains an opponent

Perhaps the coming year will offer opportunities for Arlingtonians to choose a vision once more. Planning Commission member Erik Gutshall has announced he will challenge Garvey for the Democratic nomination in June.

Gutshall said he wants "to engage our community in a forward-looking vision for Arlington." We can look forward to hearing more about what kind of vision he might have in mind. Meanwhile, Garvey will have a few months to start articulating some vision of her own.

It's always easier to criticize the work of others than to get something done yourself. Denouncing the county's work from the sidelines helped Garvey get into office and elect some allies. This year will be a chance for her to demonstrate she can also lead—or have this turn at the chair be her last.

Transit


Why monorail pods are not a serious solution for Columbia Pike

The designers of a monorail-like personal rapid transit (PRT) system hope to sell their technology to Arlington, to replace the cancelled Columbia Pike streetcar. It's a terrible idea.


America's most successful PRT system, in Morgantown, WV. Photo by Jen & Elwood on Flickr.

PRT tries to combine the best aspects of private automobiles and public transportation. It uses car-sized pods that each carry just a few people at a time. Passengers arrive at a station and, rather than wait for a bus or train headed their way, they hail a pod-car. The pod-car then carries them to their destination via an elevated monorail track. Theoretically the PRT pods do this without stopping at intermediate stations.

PRT advocates say it provides point-to-point transit, meaning it goes everywhere a car can go, since, theoretically, a city could build elevated lanes atop any street.

It's a compelling theory, which is why it's been kicking around the periphery of the transit planning industry since at least the early 1970s.

Unfortunately it doesn't work very well. It turns out that combining the convenience of personal cars with the efficiency of mass transit results in something that's neither convenient nor efficient.

PRT is less convenient than cars

The basic idea of PRT is to build an elevated lane for special pod-cars that can only drive on that lane. The pod-cars could run on wheels or tracks, but the key characteristic is a small vehicle on its own elevated lane.

Meanwhile, the great thing about personal automobiles is that you can drive one anywhere there's a road. PRT and transit both compromise that convenience by only offering service along routes, or PRT tracks.

In theory, PRT compensates for that inherent inconvenience by offering a dedicated elevated lane that can whiz pod-cars by faster than shared road lanes. But dedicated, elevated lanes are inherently expensive to build. Much more expensive than a normal surface street.

That means that unless we are willing to build an expensive duplicate infrastructure of new elevated lanes over every street in Arlington, by definition PRT cannot go everywhere roads can go. In turn, that means we have to prioritize the most important streets and design routes that carry people along only the most important paths.

In other words, we have to build a transit network.

And since elevated tracks are expensive, we can only build PRT on the most important, high-ridership corridors. Which brings up another problem:

It's all about transit capacity

What happens when the new pod-car lane fills up?

PRT advocates like to show pretty renderings of little pod-cars whizzing over highway traffic without a care in the world. Those pictures rely on an assumption of low ridership. If more people rode the pod-cars, there would have to be either more pod-cars (leading to pod-car traffic jams), or much bigger pod-cars (ie buses for the pod-car lane).

PRT doesn't change the basic math of congestion. One commuter takes up the same amount of physical space in a PRT pod-car as he or she would take up in a personal car, bus, or train. So by definition, PRT's capacity is lower than transit, simply because PRT uses small vehicles.

And since we can only afford to build PRT in corridors with heavy transit demand, that means PRT's low capacity is a real problem.

Theoretically PRT compensates for its low vehicle capacity in two ways, compared to buses: By running more pod-cars more often, and by giving its small vehicles their own elevated lane, which moves faster than buses on surface streets.

But on Columbia Pike buses already come extremely frequently at peak times. At that ridership level, smaller vehicles that come more often are not practical. The number of passengers on the line simply requires bigger vehicles.

Meanwhile, elevated lanes are great. But transit can have its own lane too. And transit on a dedicated elevated track will always have higher capacity than PRT.

So if Arlington is going to go to the trouble and expense of building a new elevated track atop Columbia Pike, why settle for low-capacity PRT? At that point, go ahead and make it elevated light rail. Columbia Pike is already long and straight and perfectly suited for that kind of high capacity transit in the first place.

Also, a lot of transit users on Columbia Pike are transferring to or from Metro. One Metro train unloading at the Pentagon could easily have hundreds of people waiting to board a PRT pod, which would lead to huge delays for those passengers and the system overall.

This is the inherent problem of PRT, and is why there are so few examples of it in the world: We can only afford to build elevated tracks on high-demand corridors, but on high-demand corridors, we need the capacity of transit.

We already know what the good solutions are

Of course, PRT is impractical since elevated lanes are expensive. But it's interesting to note that there is already a transit system on Columbia Pike today that does sort of accomplish the same goals as PRT: Capital Bikeshare.


Capital Bikeshare stations in the vicinity of Columbia Pike. Image from Capital Bikeshare.

Of course, Capital Bikeshare doesn't run automated pod-cars along dedicated elevated lanes. Instead, it runs manual-powered bikes along surface bike lanes. But in many ways, it's a low-tech and low-cost PRT system.

And Capital Bikeshare is great. We should have more of it. But it hasn't eliminated the need for transit on Columbia Pike.

Kudos for thinking outside the box, but let's move on

It's been nearly a year since the Arlington County Board canceled the Columbia Pike streetcar. Arlington residents are justifiably upset that there's still no solid Plan B. Given the county government's slow progress, residents deserve credit for thinking outside the box, and being open to new ideas.

Sometimes new ideas even prove worthwhile. The idea of a Georgetown gondola elicited eye-rolls at first, but people seem to be warming to it as Georgetown's unique set of issues come into focus.

Even CaBi was a bit of a risk, but the program has worked because it fills a gap in demand for transportation around town for certain types of trips. But the issues on Columbia Pike are not the same issues that PRT or CaBi can solve.

Just being an out of the box idea doesn't automatically make something smart. Often, such ideas have failed to take hold specifically because they're impractical. Moreover, proposals like this can muddle conversations that have already been plagued with confusion and misinformation that led to the demise of the streetcar program in the first place.

That's the case with PRT.

Pedestrians


Arlington just got a new bridge and sidewalks, but light poles sprout from the middle of the old ones nearby

Freedmen's Bridge, which carries Washington Boulevard over Columbia Pike near the Pentagon in Arlington, was just rebuilt. So was its underpass. The sidewalks are wider now, but a few obstacles make using them difficult.


All photos by the author.

The new bridge is wider, longer and more attractive than the old one. It has a light well between its east and westbound lanes, and for westbound traffic there is a longer acceleration/deceleration lane between its ramps, which makes it easier to merge onto Washington Boulevard. The project also includes a new 10-foot shared use path along Columbia Pike where it passes under the bridge.

Also, to make room for a streetcar in the future, clearance under the bridge is now 16'8".


Base image from Google Maps.

Today, VDOT will host a ceremony with Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe to dedicate the project.

While the new, wide sidewalks on part of Columbia Pike are nice, flaws in both the project design and the road just beyond it make them hard to use for anyone walking on the street.


New, wider sidewalks along Columbia Pike.

One problem is that just beyond the area where work was done, there are still lightpoles in the middle of very narrow sidewalks. These force anyone in a wheelchair off the sidewalk and they create hazards for cyclists. Though these sidewalks will likely be improved and widened in the future, they're a barrier for the time being.


A telephone pole blocks the sidewalk just past the project area.

A more troubling issue is the pedestrian lights along Columbia Pike. The lights to cross one of the Washington Boulevard ramps only turn green when someone activates them. That means that to cross, you have to first get to the intersection, then push a button, and then wait for the green light. And this will have to be done three times in each direction. This makes navigating the area very time-consuming. It's also confusing to see a green light in the road but a red light for the sidewalk.

Also, people on foot or bike on the south side of Columbia Pike have to first cross Queen Street diagonally and then back across the Washington Boulevard ramp; in other words, continuing straight is a two-intersection maneuver that could require waiting two light cycles to get to a destination that's 25 feet away.

Few cyclists are going to choose such an inconvenient route along the sidewalk, rendering the path useless for them.


If you're using the sidewalk go east on Columbia Pike near the bridge, you've got to do some extra crossing to stay straight.


A Columbia Pike crossing at the new Freedman's bridge.


The bridge's eastbound underpass.

The new underpass is better than the old one, but it's unfortunate that space could not be found for a real bike facility and that it was designed with light cycles that inconvenience pedestrians so much.

A version of this post originally ran on TheWashCycle.

Transit


Ask GGW: Now that the streetcar isn't happening, why aren't there bigger buses on Columbia Pike?

Columbia Pike is one of the most heavily-traveled transit corridors in the area. A streetcar there is no longer a transportation option, but that only highlights the need for a solution for current and future congestion.


Photo by WMATA.

Reader Brandon Shaw wants to know why there are only standard buses on Columbia Pike as opposed to articulated buses, which are longer and can carry more passengers:

Why aren't there articulated buses on Columbia Pike? My understanding is that replacing the current 40 foot buses with 60 foot buses would have a 50% increase in passenger capacity.
Ryan Arnold wrote a post in 2012, when Arlington first solicited comments on the option to replace the streetcar with articulated buses, that tackled the streetcar vs. articulated bus debate. He emphasized that articulated buses are appropriate in many areas but don't accomplish the same goals as streetcars.

In Columbia Pike's case, streetcars were favorable because Arlington's main goal was to transform the corridor from a suburban commercial strip into a dense, mixed-use neighborhood.

But with that option off the table, is it possible that articulated buses are the next-best thing?

The Columbia Pike routes, also known as Pike Ride, are a combined Arlington Transit (ART) and Metrobus service on Columbia Pike that consists of three main Metrobus lines, two MetroExtra routes, and three individual ART routes. All of these buses are operated with standard buses (vehicles with a length of 35 to 42 feet).

Standard buses are enough if bus service is what Arlington is sticking to

Currently, there is no demand for articulated buses on this line. As Metro planned it years ago, standard buses are enough to provide the service and frequency desired.

Chris Slatt mentions that Arlington Transit staff are moving forward with streetcar alternatives by conducting a study that's part of Arlington's revamp of their Transit Development Plan.

There's not enough space to store articulated buses

Metrobus stores their articulated buses in three bus divisions (garages), and none of them are in Virginia. At one time, the Four Mile Run division, which runs the Columbia Pike Metrobus routes (16 Line), stored articulated buses. But the garage was renovated to store their current fleet of compressed natural gas (CNG) buses.


The 2010 Metrobus Fleet Management Plan showing Metrobus fleet at the end of June 2009. Only two articulated buses were assigned to the Four Mile Run division. Image from WMATA.

A new Metrobus garage is scheduled to open in 2016 in Fairfax County, replacing the Royal Street division in Alexandria. The new Cinder Bed Road division will store about 160 buses, but there are no plans to store articulated buses.

Articulated buses are more expensive

Canaan Merchant points to possible maintenance issues with using articulated buses on Columbia Pike saying, "the road at present would deteriorate faster due to the excess weight and wear and tear".

Articulated buses currently in revenue service by Metrobus have a maximum life cycle of 12 years before they need to be replaced. Standard buses, on the other hand, have a maximum life cycle of 15 years. A number of standard buses that are about 7.5 years old have gone through a "mid-cycle refresh" or rehabilitation in order to keep them running their full life cycle. Only six articulated buses have been rehabbed and a number of them are planned to be replaced by a new order later in 2015.


A Metrobus articulated bus that is scheduled to be replaced in the near future.Image from Robbieraeful on Wikipedia Commons.

The long maintenance bays needed to service articulated buses could be restored or added to the Four Mile Run division in the future, however there are no plans or funding in place.

Do you have a question? Each week, we'll pose a question to the Greater Greater Washington contributors and post appropriate parts of the discussion. You can suggest questions by emailing ask@ggwash.org. Questions about factual topics are most likely to be chosen. Thanks!

Transit


To replace Columbia Pike streetcar, Vihstadt proposes Circulator bus

Arlington County Board member John Vihstadt, whose opposition to the Columbia Pike streetcar proved decisive in Arlington's decision to cancel that project, now proposes "Circulator-type buses" instead. Only one problem: Bus service on Columbia Pike is already better than DC Circulator.


There are already multiple special bus brands on Columbia Pike.

Vihstadt's suggestion to emulate the Circulator came last week during community discussions to develop a post-streetcar plan for Columbia Pike. Residents said progress since Arlington cancelled the line has been too slow, and in response Vihstadt suggested a Circulator-type bus as an interim measure until something more can get up and running.

Though many associate the word with bus services in DC and Baltimore, a "circulator" is just a type of transit service (not necessarily a bus) that provides frequent service for short trips, mainly within downtown or the urban core. If Vihstadt is specifically referring to the DC Circulator, what would that actually accomplish?

Vihstadt's proposal is for something Columbia Pike already has

There are two main differences between Circulator buses and regular Metrobuses: DC Circulator comes every 10 minutes, and it has its own brand aimed at making the system easy to use. Neither of those would be a big step in fixing Columbia Pike's transit conundrum.

Buses on Columbia Pike are already scheduled to arrive every two minutes, and the PikeRide brand has been around for years, telling riders bus service on Columbia Pike is unique. WMATA does something similar with the REX bus along Route 1 in Fairfax and Alexandria.

Arlington could request that Metro paint PikeRide buses in a brighter color, like in the past, or add a uniquely-branded ART bus route in addition to the many that already run up and down the Pike. But that would do nothing to solve the chronic overcrowding and bus bunching that PikeRide buses already face.

Copying DC's Circulator buses might offer one slight improvement to Columbia Pike beyond what's already there: The inside of Circulator buses have fewer seats, to make it easier for passengers who aren't going very far to hop on and off more quickly. That would add a tiny amount of new capacity to the corridor.

But we don't even know if that is what Mr. Vihstadt meant by "Circulator-like," and changes to Columbia Pike's bus system would likely be minimal.

A Circulator on Columbia Pike wouldn't address Columbia Pike's actual problems. It's not a replacement for streetcar, and it's not the kind of streetcar-comparable BRT that Vihstadt promised in his campaign. It's even a step down from articulated buses.

Vihstadt and the rest of the Arlington County Board have promised communities along Columbia Pike a real solution. Flippant comments proposing something that already exists is less than the bare minimum to meet that promise.

Development


Modern streetcar planning in the region, visualized

This week we looked at streetcar planning in Anacostia, H Street and Benning Road, and Northern Virginia. To help visualize this evolution, here's an illustration of how and when all of these plans have changed over the last 20 years.

Slideshow image


March, 1997: A Transportation Vision, Strategy, and Action Plan for the Nation's Capital
Proposed three streetcar routes (and one crosstown Metro line).


April, 1999: WMATA Transit Service Expansion Plan
Identified three possible streetcar lines among a multitude of future transit projects.


August, 1999: Crystal City / Potomac Yard Area Transportation Study
Proposed a streetcar for the transit corridor.


January, 2002: DC Transit Development Study (WMATA)
Identified four possible streetcar corridors and initiated the study of a starter line in Anacostia.


February, 2003: Columbia Pike Transit Initiative
Proposed streetcar service as an alternative for the corridor.


March, 2003: Crystal City / Potomac Yard Transit Corridor Alternatives Analysis
Selected Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) over streetcar for the corridor.


October, 2005: District of Columbia Transit Improvements Alternatives Analysis
Proposed four streetcar lines. Construction started on Anacostia Demonstration Project.


June, 2008: District of Columbia Transit Improvements Alternatives Analysis (2008 Update)
Modified proposed streetcar network. Construction of H Street/Benning Road line begins and the Anacostia line gets realigned.


October, 2009: District of Columbia Transit Improvements Alternatives Analysis (2010 Update)
Proposed a 37-mile, 8-line streetcar network.


July, 2011: Route 1 Corridor Streetcar Conversion Project
Study of converting transit corridor to streetcar initiated.


June, 2012: 22-Mile Priority Streetcar System
Focus of DC Streetcar efforts scaled down to three lines; Anacostia line truncated.


October, 2014: 8.2-Mile Streetcar System
Focus of DC Streetcar efforts scaled down to two lines amid funding cuts.


November, 2014: Arlington Cancels Streetcar Projects
Both Columbia Pike and Crystal City / Potomac Yard streetcar efforts indefinitely suspended.


March, 2015: New Administration Commits to One Line
Mayor Bowser commits to completing the H Street/Benning Road streetcar line. Future lines remain uncertain.

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